Table Setting: The Art of Napkin Folding


For an especially polished table, cloth napkins can be folded into appealing shapes to add to the décor of your table. Napkin folding works particularly well on freshly starched napkins. Here are some common folding techniques:

The Trifold Napkin

  • Place the unfolded napkin in front of you in the shape of a diamond
  • Bring the top corner down to meet the bottom corner (fold it in half diagonally) creating a triangle with the point facing down
  • Fold the left and right corners down to the center point
  • Fold the top point down to meet the bottom
  • Lift the napkin from the center, allowing it to stand alone on the two folded sides

Windmere’s Fan

  • Place the unfolded napkin in front of you in the shape of a square
  • Fold the napkin in half either vertically or horizontally
  • Starting at the shorter end of the resulting rectangle, begin making ½ inch accordion pleats, stop when there are approximately 4 inches left to fold
  • Fold the accordion section in half so that the folds are on the outside with the remaining 4 inches at the center
  • Make a stand by folding the 4 inch section toward the base of the fan, allowing the pleats to fan out

The Rose

  • Place the unfolded napkin in front of you in the shape of a square
  • Fold each of the four corners into the center of the napkin
  • Again, fold the four new corners into the center of the napkin
  • Carefully turn the folded napkin over, and fold the four corner into the center one more time
  • Holding the folds together, slide the folded napkin into a diamond shape
  • Use one hand to hold down the bottom two points and use the other hand to reach under the two points to pull out a flap
  • Repeat this step with the remaining 3 corners
  • Hold the center point to access and reveal the additional “petals”
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